DAILY DOSE: Abortion activists make their next move; Report claims singularity is closer than believed.


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Abortion rights activists attempted to strike back at abortion-rights deniers through legal channels in the latest installment of the never-ending back and forth between the two groups. This time it has to do with so-called abortion pills. Per the Associated Press,

Supporters of abortion rights filed separate lawsuits Wednesday challenging two states’ abortion pill restrictions, the opening salvo in what’s expected to a be a protracted legal battle over access to the medications.

The lawsuits argue that limits on the drugs in North Carolina and West Virginia run afoul of the federal authority of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has approved the abortion pill as a safe and effective method for ending pregnancy.

The cases were brought by a North Carolina physician who prescribes the pill, mifepristone, and GenBioPro, which makes a generic version of the drug and sued in West Virginia.

While the lawsuits target specific state laws, they represent key legal tests that could determine access to abortion for millions of women.

With the Supreme Court ruling as it did, it’s hard to see this strategy as anything but an uphill battle. http://bit.ly/3HbusBO

Meanwhile, in South Dakota, activist governor Kristi Noem has used her powers to ensure abortion pills are not an option for residents of the state. Again from the Associated Press,

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, along with the state’s Republican attorney general, said Tuesday the state will prosecute pharmacists who dispense abortion-inducing pills following a recent Food and Drug Administration rule change that broadens access to the pills.

The Republican governor and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley released a letter to South Dakota pharmacists saying they are “subject to felony prosecution” if they procure or dispense abortion-inducing drugs. The state bans all abortions except to save the life of the pregnant person.

“South Dakota will continue to enforce all laws including those that respect and protect the lives of the unborn,” Noem and Jackley said in the letter.

The FDA earlier this month formally updated labeling for abortion pills to allow many more retail pharmacies to dispense them, so long as they complete a certification process.

Expect more Republican governors to follow Noem’s lead. http://bit.ly/3Dhvo6u

When the rush to globalization lead to the outsourcing of drug production to countries with the lowest overhead, pharmaceutical companies compromised their ability to fully control the quality of the products being manufactured. One weak link in the supply chain could mean the distribution of harmful medicine. This appears to be the case with certain OTC cough remedies. Per Reuters,

The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating whether there is any connection between manufacturers whose contaminated cough syrups it has linked to the deaths of more than 300 children in three countries, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Citing “unacceptable levels” of toxins in the products, the WHO is seeking more information about the specific raw materials used by six manufacturers in India and Indonesia to produce medicines linked to the recent deaths, as well as whether the companies obtained them from some of the same suppliers, the person said. The WHO has not named any suppliers.

The WHO also is considering whether to advise families globally to reassess the use of cough syrups for children in general while questions over the safety of some of these products are unresolved, the person said. WHO experts are evaluating the evidence for whether, or when, such products are medically necessary for children, the person said.

It isn’t entirely understood whether most OTC cough medications actually work. http://bit.ly/3j77OCA

There’s an abundance of mysterious whale fatalities taking place along the East Coast of the United States. Per the BBC,

Local officials and environmentalists are trying to find out what is behind the mysterious death of 14 whales along the US east coast since 1 December.

Some are blaming the deaths on the development of an offshore wind farm in the area.

Officials, however, say they have found no evidence to suggest wind farms are to blame.

Since 2016, they have been tracking the "unusual mortality" of humpback whales along the eastern shores.

Over the past six years, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) tallied 178 dead humpback whales from Florida to Maine.

NOAA performed necropsies on about half the whales and found that of those, 40% of the deaths were caused by human interaction, either being caught in fishing gear or struck by vessels.

Sperm whales, an endangered species, have also been found dead along the eastern coasts. http://bit.ly/3Jep03I

Wuhan, China’s been through a lot this past few years. From being ground zero of a global pandemic to random lockdowns, they’ve soldiered through. Now, they’re also ready to turn the page on the Covid-19 pandemic. Per Channel News Asia,

Residents of China's Wuhan said Monday (Jan 23) they were hopeful for the future and no longer afraid of COVID-19, three years after the city was locked down over what was then a mysterious virus.

Since Beijing ordered Wuhan sealed off in a bid to suffocate the outbreak in January 2020, COVID-19 has devastated the planet, killing millions and plunging the global economy into turmoil.

But life is now back to normal for many across the globe and after almost three years of grueling lockdowns and mandatory mass testing, Beijing last month lifted its hardline zero-COVID policy.

Funny how life goes when one man makes all the rules. http://bit.ly/3R9UnyE

The end is near. Well, at least it is according to one study. Specifically, the much feared artificial intelligence singularity may come much sooner than expected. Per Popular Mechanics,

In the world of artificial intelligence, the idea of “singularity” looms large. This slippery concept describes the moment AI exceeds beyond human control and rapidly transforms society. The tricky thing about AI singularity (and why it borrows terminology from black hole physics) is that it’s enormously difficult to predict where it begins and nearly impossible to know what’s beyond this technological “event horizon.”

However, some AI researchers are on the hunt for signs of reaching singularity measured by AI progress approaching the skills and ability comparable to a human. One such metric, defined by Translated, a Rome-based translation company, is an AI’s ability to translate speech at the accuracy of a human. Language is one of the most difficult AI challenges, but a computer that could close that gap could theoretically show signs of Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

“That’s because language is the most natural thing for humans,” Translated CEO Marco Trombetti said at a conference in Orlando, Florida, in December. “Nonetheless, the data Translated collected clearly shows that machines are not that far from closing the gap.”

Regardless of whether it happens in ten year, twenty, or a hundred, it’s hard to see the singularity as anything but inevitable. http://bit.ly/400Dmeb

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.

IMAGE CREDIT: AI-Generated via Dall-E

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